Praise for Hapless Males
The lives in Hapless Males are so many spinning tops. When they are given a gentle push—like a quiet realization—they wobble a little, then a lot, then they spinout of control in ever more alarming orbits. What causes this loss of equilibrium?—What causes these emphatically normal situations to become drastic? Reader, I think you already know very well: desire and self-love, anger, jealousy, the need to control and to be recognized. Meanwhile, Schwarzenberger is the most companionable narrator, delivering the news with an amused drawl in wonderful prose, detailed and free, compact and leisurely.
author of Communal Nude: Collected Essays and Jack the Modernist
author of Impossible Princess and Tweaky Village
Richard Schwarzenberger really knows his men; the Hapless Males gathered here prove a whole chorus line of losers. But he’s also absurdly generous to these guys, and through his artistry we begin to understand and empathize with the way each has let life take too big a bite out of him. He himself can't write a sentence that doesn't entertain, entice, and illuminate all in one gulp, and at least 2 or 3 of these stories here are American masterpiece class.
At the risk of emulating the online review of one character's masseur ("Superlative, without gushing.") this collection is a mini-masterpiece of the contemporary condition. Ranging from a two-paragraph vignette to a 76-page novella, these well-wrought pieces offer a veritable variety of voices, carefully observed settings, and succinctly sketched characters. Without one wasted word, they are hilarious and heartbreaking in equal measure. Plus poignantly powerful, witty, richly rewarding, and... human.
jim van buskirk
co-author of Gay by the Bay and Celluloid San Francisco
CEO of Netpop
Insightful, honest, fun.